Review of Zadie Smith's Novel 'On Beauty'

1222 Words Feb 5th, 2018 5 Pages
Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps are both academic men, approaching the age of sixty who have been married for decades, and who have older children. From the outset of the story, the author informs us that the two male heads of household, Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps have very different perspectives on life and wholly different belief systems. Their opinions differ on nearly every subject under the sun which has led the two to hate each other, even before their knowledge of one another is first-hand. Despite their many differences, the author assures the audience that the two men have much more in common than either would like to believe. Over the course of the novel, the circumstances of life continually bring the two families together and through the relationships the rest of the family members cultivate, the two men are forced to come to grips with their own failings as well as see the merits of the opposing side on a variety of subjects to which they had once adhered strongly. At the beginning of the story, the two men have yet to meet face to face and yet there is a strong animosity. In an email home, son Jerome comments on Howard Belsey's referring to Monty Kipps as a "self-hating psychotic" (Smith 5). More than likely part of their resentment has to do with the fact that the two men are in the same field; they are…